Blessed are the merciful, because they will be shown mercy. - Matthew 5:7 HCSB

It’s easy to say “I want to be merciful” but exactly how does one develop this trait. In a world characterized by judgment and condemnation, and where even the most altruistic acts are accompanied by strings or selfish motivations, what can we do to show mercy from the heart?

We need to be humble. We need to recognize our personal need for mercy. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the LORD has punished the Messiah for the iniquity of us all.[1] For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.[2] If we say, "We have no sin," we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.[3] When we catch someone in sin, we need to restore them gently, watching out lest we be tempted also.[4]

We need to try to become better acquainted with the object of our judgment. The word “prejudice” literally means to “pre-judge” or judge before all the facts are in. Hashem specifically forbids this.[5] Adonai asks us to carefully research before rendering judgment. Sixty Minutes, A Current Affair, Today Tonight and their ilk urge us to form an opinion based on sound bytes and heavily edited movie clips. It’s easy to judge those we do not know. It’s easy to allow our fear of strangers or those who are different from us to influence our attitudes toward them. So one of the best steps we can take to develop mercy is to not only get well acquainted with them but to try to identify with them as much as possible.[6]

It is critical that we understand that God’s mercy proceeds from His own essential freedom. He said, "I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."[7] We tend to consider judgment or grudges held as being power over the object of our scorn. The truth of the matter is that it is not power but slavery. Only a free man can free another. Only the forgiven can forgive. The truly rich give cheerfully because they know they have plenty in reserve. Those who have been granted great mercy can afford to extend it to others. So we need to uproot this idea of condemnation, bitterness or grudges as being an effective way of “getting back” at someone. The only one we are hurting is ourselves.

Finally, we need to allow the Ruach’ ha Kodesh to pour Yeshua’s mercy through us like an aqueduct. Adonaists give others to drink from the spring of living waters that wells up within our souls.[8] No water – no spring. No power – no Holy Spirit. We must ask God to love others through us, for our own sakes.

[1] Isaiah 53:6

[2] Romans 3:23

[3] 1 John 1:8-9

[4] Galatians 6:1

[5] Proverbs 18:13

[6] Romans 12:15

[7] Exodus 33:19 cp Romans 9:15

[8] John 4:14